There’s some fancier fast food in Shipyards Park this summer.
Barkers Crepe and Creamery officially opens on June first, but they’ve been unofficially open for a few days.
“It’s been going pretty good,” said co-owner Vance Kiess. “We’ve definitely hit some kinks, but the feedback has been really good so far.”
With 14 flavours of ice cream, and a rotating selection of both dessert and savory crepes, Kiess and his fiance Jennifer Milder are hoping Whitehorse will embrace this alternative to the regular street fair.
“Lots of people haven’t had savory crepes yet,” said Milder. “So hopefully it’s not too scary and not too far out.”
So far they’ve been pretty well received, they said.
When a customer came by the other day looking for a sandwich, Milder was able to sell him on a ham and cheese crepe instead.
“I didn’t force him to take it, but I really sold it,” she said.
“The whole idea is we wanted to do a quality concession food,” said Kiess. “Food that we would want to eat, and would be proud to serve.”
They use only fresh fruit, and make their whipped cream from scratch.
The ice cream, they ship in from Edmonton.
Selling ice cream isn’t much of a stretch for Kiess, who works winters as an ice technician at the Canada Games Centre.
The crepes are a different story.
“To be honest, I hadn’t had a crepe in years,” he said. “I was down in Vancouver and went to the crepe stand there.
“It looked like a pretty good operation, and I thought, ‘We can probably do that.’”
Milder’s day job working as a customer service rep with the city planning department also helped them get the business off the ground.
“Obviously I had a good idea of what we had to do,” she said. “But they didn’t cut me any slack that’s for sure.”
They found a second hand ice cream trailer online and hauled it up from Montana.
They also bought a crepe griddle.
The last few months have been spent experimenting with the traditional French pancakes.
“I think we’ve eaten three pounds of cheese a week going through this stuff,” said Kiess.
It’s also provided “a great creative outlet too,” he said.
“Any spur-of-the moment idea you can think of you throw in there.”
Having a mobile business has been something they’ve wanted to do for a while.
When the couple got engaged 10 months ago, they started to make a plan for the next couple of years.
“We both wanted to travel so this just seemed a good fit,” he said. “A business that we could carry around with us to music festivals, and maybe even travel across the country.”
This summer they’re booked in for the Atlin Music Festival, and a few events around town.
They’re even considering trying to make it all the way up to Dawson this summer, but that’s as far as they plan to go until they get the hang of it.
“It was a lot of work,” said Milder. “A lot more than we thought it would be, definitely.”
“It’s a learning curve that’s for sure,” said Kiess. “I just have to figure out how to not get Nutella on everything.”
Soon a few other food trucks will join them in the park – one offering authentic Mexican food, the other a hamburger stand.
They aren’t worried about the competition.
In fact they embrace it.
“I’m excited about more trucks coming in,” said Kiess. “That bit of variety in food is great for the town.”
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